Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon: “The European Fighter
Intended to play a major role in Europe’s air defense in the 21st century, the Eurofighter 2000 is certainly one of the most competitive fighters in the world. As its name implies, the EF 2000 is a European-made aircraft for air defense and air superiority missions, and is capable of performing attack missions. The final design, adopted at the end of 1987, was based on the EAP (Experimental Aircraft Program) demonstrator which, built by British Aerospace, made its first flight on 8 August 1986.
In 1986, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain founded the Eurofighter GmbH consortium to develop this aircraft. The financial contributions of each country were based on purchase intentions, namely 37.5%, 30%, 19.5% and 13% respectively of the total development cost. In 1986, France, a partner at the beginning in 1983, withdrew from the project and decided to develop its own aircraft: the Dassault Rafale.
The EF-2000, known as the Typhoon outside Europe, is a 4th generation multi-purpose fighter, designed to replace several types of aircraft by fulfilling a variety of missions: close combat, air superiority, long-range interception, ground attack and support, suppression of anti-aircraft defenses, maritime attack. The EF 2000 does not differ much from other aircraft of this generation (F-22 Raptor, Rafale, Su-35). On the other hand, its development has been delayed by discussions related to its financing. Indeed, in 1992, Germany had already threatened to withdraw from the project, but in the end it remained despite numerous hesitations. The abandonment of the project would have been disastrous for Spain and Italy where the EFA represents the future of an industry.
It has a certain stealth, is agile and has high-performance engines. Like the Rafale, it has a “canard” configuration. The canard plane offers less air resistance than a traditional tail, and is made possible by the arrival of digital flight control systems. This gives it excellent maneuverability. Thanks to its numerous carry points (13), it is true that the Eurofighter enjoys a very high combat efficiency as well as an autonomy in convoying, without refueling, out of the ordinary.
On the other hand, its onboard radar is not as efficient as that mounted on the Rafale or the F-22. Its stealth is not as sensitive as that of the F-22, but its frontal drag is still reduced. It also lacks “supercruise” capability.
The first EF 2000 made its maiden flight on March 27, 1994, and six more prototypes have followed. Purchase intentions are very promising: 232 aircraft for the United Kingdom, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy and 87 for Spain, for a total of 620 aircraft, including about 100 two-seaters. After producing eight prototypes and five pre-production aircraft, the production of production aircraft was launched. The Luftwaffe received its first operational aircraft in August 2003, the Exercicio del Aire in September of the same year.
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